Monday, January 12, 2015

Electric Cars, Child Sexual Abuse, and the Absence of Logic

Nothing else seems to spark voracious debate on reasoning and logic like posting that there is a Logical Argument for God and cult participation, but, that a belief in God and cult participation is not rational. I enjoy the debate as it contributes to sharpening my thinking skills that are critical to the cogent reasoning that I employ for writing appeals of child custody and support decisions. During the course of recent debate on this issue I have been exposed to a plethora of logical fallacies and double standards. This brings forth another pleasure, examining the psychological implications and causations of the faulty reasoning. As for the theological ramifications I could care less. People should be free to believe whatever they wish so long as their behaviours based upon those beliefs do not impose upon or harm other people. The lack of cogent reasoning amongst the general population is concerning though as it does affect public policy and, consequently, the rights and well-being of children, especially those whose parents are engaged in a battle over the custody of the them.

So, for kicks I resorted to something that I have long reviled as a hypocrisy that is replete with logical fallacies and outright lies -- the electric car hypothesis. Earlier in this century electric car technology was the subject of much attention and scrutiny when California adopted a zero emissions law that required manufacturers of consumer automobiles to meet minimum sales quotas for vehicles that used electric motors. [motors use electricity, engines use organic fuels] The law was eventually repealed but not before significant debate and public protests which were generally aimed at General Motors -- a name that is not as contradictory as it may appear.*

In Los Angeles, California adolescents and young adults have a rate of chronic lung disease that far exceeds the national average. The culprit most attributed to this is smog as the result of fossil fuel emissions from automobiles. In support of electric vehicles Hollywood celebrities [a class of people whom I believe think they are imbued with the knowledge of how to solve all the world’s problems solely based on their status as actors] such as Tom Hanks and Mel Gibson purchased electric vehicles and advocated for their use. They were joined by other consumers and environmental activists who touted the benefits of electric vehicles. Hanks jokingly quipped that he was ‘saving America’ by driving an electric vehicle and received applause for such from what I contend is a less hypocritical audience.

The problem that I have with these advocates of electric vehicles -- and now hybrids -- is that their support is based upon a distinction bias. That is the tendency to view two options as more dissimilar when evaluating them simultaneously than when evaluating them separately. Electric vehicle proponents like to frame the issue as “electric good, gasoline bad!” When comparing motor to engine propelled vehicles electric does appear good. But that is an either or fallacy because it discounts much better and viable alternatives; walking, cycling, creating proximity of destinations, and using public transportation.

These consumers are rationalizing their behaviour and revealing their selfishness in such statements as “there is no pollution coming out of your tailpipe” and “it’s so quiet.” It is true that the electric vehicles do not emit pollution from their tailpipes. Their pollution is emitted from the smokestacks of the coal powered electricity production facilities, from the metal fabrication plants, the assembly plants, the transporters, and on down the line. The oil based asphalt material applied to the roof of a car dealership building or that used in the parking lot is the same whether an electric or gasoline powered vehicle is sold there. While the car itself may be quiet for the driver the noise of train cars hauling coal through neighborhoods of people in the lower economic class is not so appealing to their ears. The diesel emissions from the engines of those trains likely isn’t helping those children breathe easier either.

Additionally, when making claims about electric vehicle efficiency, these advocates for and users of electric vehicles misrepresent the truth or flat out lie, much they way Michael Moore does in his propaganda films. I can assure you that NO passenger automobile can travel 125 miles on the actual power produced by one gallon of gasoline. Yet that is a claim that electric car advocates make about those cars. An electric car may travel 100+ miles on 30+ kilowatt hours of electricity. That is about the equivalent BTUs emitted by burning one gallon of gasoline. The amount of kilowatts of electricity produced by a gallon of oil is about 15/kWh. Generally about 2 gallons of oil can be refined to one gallon of gasoline. This does not mean that it goes to waste because asphalt, diesel fuel and numerous other petroleum products are also made. I will still use a 1:1 ratio then because only about 1-2% of crude is lost in the refining process. So to be truthful proponents should admit that it takes over two gallons of oil to propel one of their electric vehicles 100+ miles. An improvement over most combustion engines but not nearly as efficient or economical as implied by the 100+ mpg ratings which are based upon the BTU rating for the burn of one gallon of gasoline. The rating does not account for the inefficiency of burning oil to spin turbines for producing electricity nor the electricity lost in the transmission process.

Electric vehicle proponents do have a valid argument for their advocacy. However, they append global warming to their reasoning basis and draw an illusory correlation between glacial melting and the use of combustion engine vehicles. To support this perceived correlation they will show in their propaganda material chunks of glaciers falling into the ocean but not establish a direct cause and effect relationship.

Glacial ice acts much like the products in the dairy case at a grocery store. There, forced fresh stock rotation is achieved by loading milk in a single column from the back and letting those jugs slide down to consumers in the front. Similarly, Glaciers also use gravitational pull to project outward the mound of snow accumulating at the peak. As a glacier front reaches the ocean or other warmer surface it begins to melt and break apart. Concurrently snow is falling on the mound and the process continues. It is cyclical. Al Gore in his oxymoronic titled propaganda film, An Inconvenient Truth, used the image of a glacier front breaking apart and falling into the ocean laid over his narrative to support his proposition that global warming is occurring and harming the environment -- destroying glaciers. Gore commits the base rate fallacy of ignoring that a certain rate of glacial demise occurs naturally. When advocates use blatant false logic like this in their argument they lose credibility and what may be a legitimate concern must be dismissed based upon the violation of trust by attempting to dupe listeners.

Proponents of electric vehicles in making their argument commit a number of logical fallacies as well and ignore disconfirming evidence. They psychologically rationalize their use of electric vehicles through omission bias. By framing the argument as oil versus electricity they feel that they are on the moral high ground but they are discounting the harmful effects of driving regardless of the fuel source. Their use of electric vehicles, as I have previously described in numerous ways, does contribute to carbon emissions but also contributes to pollution in another way. By being on the roadway they are increasing congestion which reduces efficiency and boosts idling time of other vehicles. Additionally, their use contributes to total road surface area construction and maintenance. This congestion and construction/maintenance cause combustion engine vehicles to produce more emissions. Thus, by proxy, electric vehicles are causing carbon emissions.

Framing the argument as oil versus electric instead of oil and electric vehicles while omitting not driving can be analogous to rationalizing some form of child sexual abuse. Anal rape of small children results in much greater physical trauma to children than digital vaginal penetration, oral copulation, or fondling. Hospitalization, surgery, and lost productivity of caretakers at home is a significant cost of anal rape that doesn’t occur with fondling. Eliminating anal rape of children would reduce the overall trauma to children and costs associated with child sexual abuse at a rate likely to be commensurate to that of oil versus electric [coal] powered vehicles. Although I haven’t crunched the numbers I am well informed on child sexual abuse and roughly know the costs associated with sexual abuse by type. Much like fondling or oral copulation is to anal rape the use of electric vehicles compared to gasoline powered is still part of the same collection of offenses. The pollution caused by electric vehicles is just hidden elsewhere much as the still significant costs of the non-physical effects of child sexual abuse are not readily visible.

When all factors are considered, electric vehicles are not a viable solution to meaningful carbon emission reduction. To be genuine, these celebrities and advocates of electric vehicles should take meaningful steps instead of shifting the type and location of their pollution. To make more than token reductions in their environmental impact they could relocate their residence closer to their usual travel destinations, use human power for transportation [or where I am now maybe sled dogs], support and use public transportation, and in general think and act efficiently in all aspects of life.

Propaganda loses its allure when it is attacked through logical reasoning. Electric powered vehicles as the means to reversing global pollution build up have had their asses kicked.

Be skeptical, think critically!

*In the early twentieth century motor propelled vehicles were about one-third of all. Motor companies predominated the early automobile development. This does not imply that automobile producers can accurately describe their product. They continue to describe vehicles as having four or five speeds although the number of speeds that an automobile is capable of is infinite. Just one acceleration to braking event produces millions of speeds.

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